Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (5)

WoW is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine!

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
(HarperTeen, 6/10)

It’s tough, living in the shadow of a dead girl…

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.


Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.


In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (4)

The Retueners
Gemma Malley
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (March 2, 2010)

London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father’s political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he’s having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn’t just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it . . . again.Set in the near future, Gemma Malley's newest novel is a terrifying and enlightening look at the lessons of history, and at humankind's ongoing struggle with its conscience.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Author Interview: Sara J. Henry



Sara J. Henry’s debut novel LEARNING TO SWIM will be released in January 2011. Even though the book has not come out yet, I read the excerpt of her novel and now I cannot wait for the book. You can go to Sara’s site here. Let’s welcome Sara!
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1. Can you tell us about LEARNING TO SWIM?

It's my debut novel, scheduled for early January 2011 from Shaye Areheart Books (Random House). Here's a description I lifted from a catalog: Briskly paced, rich in the details of small-town life and easily traversing the cultural terrain of New York's North Country and French Canada, LEARNING TO SWIM is a haunting debut and the first in a two-book deal featuring the same enterprising heroine. You can find more about it and a brief excerpt on my website.

2. How did you feel when your first book LEARNING TO SWIM was going to be published?

It was a wild and crazy ride for me. I spent a long time revising and polishing the manuscript, but once I started querying things went very quickly. I signed with an agent and the manuscript sold in a two-book deal, almost before I had time to process how I felt. I doubt it's going to seem real until I see the book in print.


3. Where did the idea for LEARNING TO SWIM come from?

While visiting the Adirondacks in upstate New York where I used to live, I was driving in a car along Lake Champlain - an enormous lake that borders New York and Vermont - and for some reason I imagined the scene that became the opening chapter of the book. Then I had to develop a book around that scene - which is just as hard as it sounds.

Some other facets of the book are based on my life when I used to live in a small upstate New York town, where I had lots of roommates and worked as a sports editor on a small newspaper.

4. Has LEARNING TO SWIM changed from the first draft to the finished copy of the book?

Absolutely. I learned to write fiction by writing this novel, so this manuscript went through many changes and revisions. The characters and basic structure never changed, but the original plot had quite a few loose ends and characters that weren't fully developed. The original middle of the book was, I'll have to admit, really bad. I did a lot of rewriting and learned a lot about writing, pacing, and plot as I went.

5. Why do you write YA?

LEARNING TO SWIM actually isn't considered YA - it's being classified as a suspense novel. But from the start I wanted a book that a 13-year-old could pick up and read - at that age I was raiding the bookshelves of my parents, and I didn't want to put any limitations on who could or could not read my work. Steph Bowe, a 15-year-old author in Australia whose first novel will come out in 2010, was one of my beta readers, and thinks my book will definitely appeal to mature teens. (I think what she said was Brilliant!)

I love YA novels because even ones that deal with gritty topics are seldom as jaundiced or cynical as adult novels. Most YA books seem to have hope. And I love YA fans, who are are dedicated, outspoken, and incredibly loyal.

6. What are some of your favorite YA authors and books? Have you read any YA books recently that you loved and recommended to others?

I became interested in modern YA because of AS King's DUST OF 100 DOGS, which I had no idea was classified young adult. I loved this book - I literally could not put it down and recommend it like mad to everyone who will listen. It's the story of a young Irish woman who became a pirate and was doomed to live 100 lives as a dog before being reincarnated as an American girl - and then can't wait to turn 18 and get back to Jamaica and find her buried treasure.

I've read Steph's novel, originally titled THESE BONES, and so loved it that I steered her toward several agents.

Based on Steph's recommendation I recently read LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green and THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher. Other YA books of note I've read of late are CRAZY BEAUTIFUL by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, BAD GIRLS DON'T DIE by Katie Alender, JUMPER by Steven Gould, and WRITING NAKED by Peter Gould.

7. Where do you get your ideas in general?

I'm an observer. I see a lot and hear a lot and read a lot and it all goes into my brain. Plot and character ideas just come to me - and sometimes a character simply springs from the pages of the book as I'm writing.

But plotting in general - especially an involved plot - can be very hard work. For me it was by far the hardest part of novel writing.

8. What is the sequel of LEARNING TO SWIM going to be about? Can you tell us anything?

It features many of the same characters, including the main character, a young woman named Troy Chance, and is set primarily in the small upstate New York towns of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. It deals with the meaning of friendship, small-town life, the clashes between different subcultures, and the ripple effect of choices some people make.

9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Find good critiquers, and listen to them. For me a turning point was going to a writing conference where an agent, an editor, and a writer (I know this sounds like the beginning to a bad joke) convinced me I had the talent to make this happen.

10. Is there anything you would like to add?

For me, the dream of full-time novel writing didn't happen until I fully committed to it. I had to decide that this is what I did, for better or worse. I tackled the first major revision of this novel while houseswapping in Australia with a broken foot at the start of winter - I remember the moment when I realized This is what I do and knew I had to finish this book whether it was publishable or not. And that was when I truly began to be a writer.

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Thanks Sara!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Review: Vampire Academy: Book 4: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Summary:Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose's neck, a mark that says she's killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters . . . Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life's vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She'll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?



Review: I’ll try my hardest not to give anything away in this review and that might be why some of my statements don’t make any sense!

Ah where to begin? Where to begin? First off, I've waited for this book for a long time and I was very, very excited to finally sit down and read it. First and foremost, the wait was worth it.

The fourth book in this enthralling series left me absolutely breathless. The beginning I’ll admit was boring but the author caught my attention. Even though the beginning moved slower than I would have preferred, I understood at the end that that was important. In order to get the middle and ending right, that is.

Rose was wonderful yet again and she is now my most favorite character. I just loved that even though Rose learned a lot of things about herself and all, she was still the same old Rose that we all loved.

I loved the intro of all of the new characters, especially Abe and his role in Rose’s life. Sydney was an interesting character and the Alchemists are people I want to know more about.

Now the one character I wanted to know most about: Dimitri. I’ll admit everything that happened between Rose and Dimitri in the book was a surprise to me but after thinking about it, I think I knew something like that would happen. All in all, I just loved Dimitri. He was kind of a jerk near the ending but the note he sent Rose made up for that.

The plot was good, but somewhat slow moving. I think it should have moved a bit faster. The dialogue was pulled off perfectly and it really brought out the personalities of the characters. The action in the book was great and it was put in exactly the right places. As always the surprises were just thrilling and Richelle Mead defiantly has a knack for pulling off surprises just perfectly.

I’m not sure what else I can say about this book but that it was an excellent addition to the series and that I am looking forward to the last two books in the series.

Grade: Go to fullsize image I loved it!

Cover: There's not much I can say about it but it goes well with the story line....in it's own way.

Overall: A definite must read. If you've never heard of the Vampire Academy than you need to go get the books and read them ALL. IT WAS SIMPLY AMAZING!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review: The Chronicles of Vladmir Tod: Book One: Eight Grade Bites by Heather Brewer


Summary: Junior high really sucks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: he's being hunted by a vampire killer.



Review: The first time I saw the cover for this book, it looked really good. I mean it's about vampires and the cover had it all: it was dark, cool , creepy, and well, exciting. I read the synopsis and it sounded even better. One interesting thing I noticed about the synopsis was that it said Vlad was already a vampire and that he was not going to learn he was a supernatural being. This was a good thing as most books these days has to do with teens turning into supernatural being. It was good to find something new.

I loved the plot: making Vlad have the challenges of not only growing up into an adult but also becoming a vampire. The plot was a good one with the right amount of everything: a little romance, trouble at school, guardian problems. Basically, Heather Brewer did a good job with bringing out what kind of problems teens have.

I liked the beginning and the middle. But I think the end lost it's touch. To me it was just to fast paced. As the rest of the novel was a good, normal paced, I left that when I got to the end, the novel just raced through it. There weren't many descriptions that actually "showed" me what was happening in the book. That was the only downer to the book.


Grade:Go to fullsize image The ending just brought the whole book down....but not too much!

Cover: A

Overall: I think this is a good book and Vlad is defiantly one character I want to know more about. I recommend this book to all of you Urban Fantasy lovers but if you're just looking for a good book, then you can pick this up too!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday (3)

Demon Princess: Reign Check by Michelle Rowan
June 2010 by Walker Books

Nikki Donovan, Demon Princess, is back--and stuck in a love triangle that's straight out of hell!

Fresh from finding out that she is a demon princess, fighting her aunt for her life, and rescuing her father from being poisoned, Nikki Donovan is looking forward to getting back to her regular high school life. But when Rhys, the handsome king of the faery realm, decides to show up at her school as a "foreign exchange student," Nikki knows this won't be possible. Couple with this a whole host of other problems: there's a new prophecy that claims she will destroy everyone. Her conflicted feelings for Rhys and her boyfriend, Michael, are getting in the way of their relationship. Her best friend Melinda just might be a demon-slayer-in-training, and her old crush Chris might know of her demon side. Throw in a field trip to none other than Hell itself … and Nikki's going to be hoping for a rain check on more than just her homework!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

New Interviews

I will be posting TWO new interviews in the next few days! They are:

1. Sara J. Henry-- Author of LEARNING TO SWIM coming out in 2011

2. Kalayna Price-- Author of ONCE BITTEN (out!) and TWICE DEAD coming out in Feb 2010!

Kalayna is a Urban fantasy writer and her book is AMAZING!
Sara's book is a very interesting one and one I think teens will love!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday (2)

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
June 2010/Little Brown

Scarlett never believed in the Fenris—werewolves drawn to the delectable charms of young girls. That all changed when in one swift attack, a Fenris murdered her grandmother and left Scarlett half-blind and horrifically scarred. Only her younger sister, Rosie, escaped unharmed as Scarlett shielded her from the Fenris’s jaws.

Now eighteen, Scarlett’s life’s mission is to destroy the Fenris and save other girls from her fate—a mission she’s grown to love, despite herself. Armed with red cloaks and hatchets, Scarlett, Rosie, and a young woodsman, Silas, move to the city in search of answers—and vengeance. If they can find a Potential Fenris, tainted by the pack but not yet consumed by it, they can unlock the mystery that transforms them- but better yet, use him as bait.

But unlike Scarlett, Rosie doesn't feel the thrill of the hunt in her blood. Longing for a life away from heavy responsibility and something sweeter than steel determination, Rosie finds herself drawn to Silas. More and more often, they find themselves abandoning the search for the Potential, stealing kisses, sharing secrets.

When Scarlett discovers the romance blossoming in her midst, she abandons her sister to the woodsman, certain that her own heart has no room for love, not when it's filled with her mission, her purpose. Still, the bond between Scarlett and Rosie is too deep to truly sever, and when Scarlett discovers a way to bring her sister back to her side for good- even if it means destroying Rosie’s happiness—she is forced to make a decision that will change the course of both their lives.

A modernization of Little Red Riding Hood, SISTERS RED is told in alternating viewpoints of Scarlett and Rosie as the sisters struggle to find the Potential, destroy the Fenris, and unwind their own tangle of romantic complexities and the deeply rooted bond between them. SISTERS RED is approximately 80k words in length, aimed at a mid to upper teenage audience.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday (1)

Something Like Fate
Susane Colasanti
May 18th 2010 by Viking Juvenile

Lani and Erin are bonded for life. One thing that connects them is their fascination of fate. Lani wonders how much of our lives has already been decided and how much we can actually influence. Since the Unknown can unexpectedly change our lives forever, how much can we really control?


From the minute Lani meets Jason, she can't deny the intense connection they share. It feels like she's known him forever. She's not sure if he feels it, too. But it doesn't matter. Because Jason is Erin's boyfriend. Lani is determined to ignore her feelings for Jason, no matter how powerful they are, rather than risk hurting her best friend.



How long can Lani keep running from the boy who might be her destiny?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review: Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande


Your best friend hates you. The guy you liked hates you. Your entire group of friends hates you.
All because you did the right thing.

Welcome to life for Mena, whose year is starting off in the worst way possible. She's been kicked out of her church group and no one will talk to her—not even her own parents. No one except for Casey, her supersmart lab partner in science class, who's pretty funny for the most brilliant guy on earth.

And when Ms. Shepherd begins the unit on evolution, school becomes more dramatic than Mena could ever imagine . . . and her own life is about to evolve in some amazing and unexpected ways.


REVIEW: This book is a wonderful debut novel and Robin Brande has done a spectacular job with brining forth this very controversial topic.

At the start of the book, all of Mena's friends (who go to her church) hate her for doing the right thing. Only, in their eyes, she didn't do the right thing. So, Mena begins school friendless, being bullied, and even her parents are angry with her. They seem to side with her church.

But Mena finds a safe haven: her science class and her teacher, Ms. Shepard. Her lab partner, Casey and his sister Kayla, aren't too bad either. With their help, Mena must decide is what she did was truly the right thing to do or the wrong.

The plot, dialogue and setting was just great. Everything in the book seemed to fit in perfectly resulting in a great book. The subject of EVOLUTION eventually comes up and it is nicely handled. It wasn't addressed as EVOLUTION vs. RELIGION or EVOLUTION vs. SCIENCE or anything like that.

Mena was a great character but I've got to say I loved Kayla just the same. She had a lot of gut to speak up about what she believed in. To me, Kayla was a very intelligent girl and a wonderful friend. I have to say, the relationship between Casey and Mena was expected and I liked how it call came about.

I loved this book, the story line, the characters and most of all how this controversial subject was addressed. This is diffidently a book you all should read.

Review: Vampire Academy: Book 3: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead


It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all...might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose's forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line--and choose between the two people she loves most.


REVIEW:
Book three, finished! Well, this has been a great read just like the first two. And now I can't wait till I read the fourth book.

Now this book was different than the other two but then again, it was the same in some ways too.

First, the plot was just perfect. After reading the book I know that Ms. Mead took some time coming up with the details and events of the book. The plot, though, was a bit edgy in some places (those I will not mention because I don't want to ruin the book) but the rest was great. The dialogue really brought out the characters and their feeling and it kept the book moving.

Though this book is serieos, there are parts in this book that we have to laugh at. The big surprise at the beginning of the book with Rose and Christian threw me off a bit and I didn't understand where the book was going. At first. Reading on and on, I knew that every thing that happened in the beginning had to happen to move this book, as well as the series, along.

I found some things very sad while others were very sweet. The ending, with Dimitri and Rose was just heartbreaking and I want to know what happens so badly. Ms. Mead created a lot of great suspense.

We see Adrian once again and it was good to have him back. Poor Mason. That's all I can say. The action scenes were just perfect and will leave you breathless. Ms. Mead balances the battle between good and evil with a breathtaking, emotional, and intense romance that will keep you to the edge of your seats, wanting more.

All in all, this is another must read, two thumbs up book by Ms. Mead.


Review: Vampire Academy: Book 2: Frostbite by Richelle Mead


Rose Hathaway's got serious guy trouble. Her gorgeous tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason has a huge crush on her, and she keeps getting stuck in her best friend Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian. (So not cool).

Then a massive Strigoi attack puts St. Vladimir's on high alert, and the Academy crawls with Guardians--including the legendary Janine Hathaway...Rose's formidable, long-absent mother. The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks. This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only provide the illusion of safety. When three students run away to strike back against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. Only this time, Rose--and her heart--are in more danger than she ever could have imagined...


REVIEW:
Well, first and formost, the second book in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy is just as wonderful as the first one. Readers will not be disapointed with this second book.

Rose was once again the character that everyone loves. She was just as strong headed, determined and curious as ever. Her character develops more in the book and she grows up both physically and mentally. Lissa is just the same, but I found her a bit more stable and stronger than in the first book. She is finally beginning to open up and she is not that scared as she was. We get to know more about Christian and begin to love him too. Personally, I'm glad he's got Lissa and she'd got him.

I found it funny that Rose went into Lissa's mind when she least needed to be there. The plot began with excitement and ended with excitement but the middle kind of let off on all that. Even though the middle was less exciting then the rest of the book, I liked learning more and more about the characters. The middle tied up some loose ends from the second book and brought out more questions. New character, Adrian, is fun to read about and I'd like to know what happens int he future.

The ending with Mason left me sad but I got a feeling that it was all for the best of this book and the future books. Dimitri is once again a wonderful character and he is just as mysterious as before.

Once again, Richelle Mead captures our attention with her two thumbs up second book in this series.

Review: Vampire Academy: Book 1 by Richelle Mead

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires--the ones who never die.


The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking hearts.

Fear made Lissa and Rose run away form St. Vladimir's--inside the Academy's iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals and their secretive nature and love of the night creates and enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate thorough this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...

REVIEW:
These days, there are more and more books about vampires than ever before. The Vampire Kisses and Vampire Diaries. And so many more books about one topic: Vampires. When I first saw this book, I didn't know what to think of it. Another book that has to do with vampires? I think I'll read it later. Way later.

When I told my friend this, she told me I should read this book ASAP. She said it was a great book and one that I should read. And well, I listented to her and read this book. And I have to say that I'm glad I read it.

Vampire Academy, a series by Richelle Mead is a refreshing read into the world of Vampires. She takes ever thing we love: romance, action, danger, vampires and put it together with a Romanian folklore to create yet another juicy read for us YA lovers.

I love the begging, middle, and end to this book one and I just loved the setting and characters. Rose is deferentially one character everyone will want to know more about after the end of this book and Lissa will touch our hearts. Not to mention Demetri, of course.

Ms. Mead put in all the things to love to create this new world. Vampires are we knew them will never be the same again.

All in all I think everyone who loved the Twilight Saga, Vampire Kisses, and the Vampire Diaries should read this. Even if you don't like any of the above mentioned books, read this book. It is a great read and opens new doors and changes our perspectives of our view of Vampires. A definite must read!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Author Interview: Steph Bowe

Steph Bowe is a fifteen year old YA writer. She is an extremely good author who got not only one, but three agents hoping to represent her. After some time, Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown became her agent. You can check out her blog Hey! Teenager of The Year. Her novel THESE BONES will be coming out soon. I was lucky enough to get an interview with her. Enjoy!:

1.Congrats on signing with Ginger! How did it all come about? How do you feel about it?

Well, let's start with: I feel great! It all came about because: An author friend, Sara Henry, who beta-read my novel encouraged me to query some US agents. I also entered in the Secret Agent competition on the Miss Snark's First Victim blog the month when Ginger Clark was the secret agent. I was incredibly lucky, and very quickly had three offers, including one from Ginger!

2. You had several agents vying for your novel - how did you decide on Ginger?

I spoke to each of the agents on the phone, and Ginger really seemed to 'get' the novel, was really nice and also a great business person. It was a really difficult decision - imagine the shock of three different literary agents (from America no less - when you're an Aussie, their accents make them seem like they've stepped out of a TV show) all suddenly wanting to work with you! You, little Steph Bowe (actually, I'm little Steph Bowe. This second-person thing I always do is a bit confusing). But I defintiely made the right choice - I've really enjoyed working with Ginger so far.

3. Now that you’ve got an agent, what's next?

Next, the novel goes out on submission to publishers! There is a lot of waiting, but hopefully it will find a publisher. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

4. How has your book changed from the first draft to the finished copy of the book?

It's nowhere near finished yet - when it finds a publishers, there will be a whole lot more revisions before it's ready for print (hopefully it reaches that point!). But it has changed hugely from that first draft, subsequent rewrites after critiques from beta-readers, and a rewrite with my agent - but it remains intrinsically the same. The bits I have rewritten have only strengthened the novel - and feedback from beta-readers has been invaluable to me!

5. Why do you write YA?

It's the only thing I know! I know very well what it's like to be a teenager, and even if I haven't experienced something myself, I can relate to the emotions. I love writing about teenaged characters - I'm pretty good at the dialogue, because I have so many conversations with teenagers! I might venture into another genre as I get older, but for now, it's YA for me!

6. What are you reading right now? What YA book have you read recently that you really enjoyed?

Right now I'm reading Gringolandia by Lynn Miller-Lachman. Recently I read both Split by a Kiss and Extreme Kissing by Luisa Plaja, and they were absolutely hilarious. It's always nice to read a more light-weight book to take a break from heavier, edgier stuff (see, sometimes fluff is good!).

7. Besides writing, what other things are you really passionate about?

I love singing, dancing (though I do neither of those in public), reading (no surprise there), blogging (shock!), cooking... apart from writing, I have heaps of interests, but I'm not super-passionate about anything else!

8. Do you listen to music when you write? What are your favorite bands and artists?

I do listen to music when I write! Usually I put my iPod on shuffle, or I make up a playlist for a specific story. Right now, I'm listening to a lot of Regina Spektor, Cobra Starship, The Killers, The Kinks, Coldplay and a bit of The Academy Is....

9. Where do you get your ideas?

I steal them from the dreams of legitimate authors! I am an idea-stealing super-ninja! Not really. Mainly, I'll see something - a film, a phrase, a blade of grass, pretty much anything - and then from there an idea will germinate in my head. Sometimes it'll extend to a character, a fully-formed plot, a story demanding to be written. Then I write it!

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

1. Write. Write a lot. Writing comes before blogging about writing, talking about writing and reading about writing. You just have to write, else you aren't a writer.

2. Be willing to receive critiques on your work and revise. Recognise the difference between unhelpful and helpful advice. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

3. Don't be afraid of sending your work out. Just make your writing as ready as it can be, then send it off. It can't hurt. Be patient, and handle rejection well. Patience and a thick-skin are key (I still don't have either of these things, though!).

11. Finally, can you tell us a bit about the famous novel in question?!

I will be talking about this on my blog (http://stephbowe.com) very, very soon, but for now, I'll tell you some things that are in my novel: A boy, a girl, a lake, Yum Cha, a ridiculously tall child prodigy (or two - yes, two), kissing (but not that much - ew), M&M's, hot chips, a stolen lobster, several stolen garden gnomes, some very inappropriate remarks, a funny-sad romance. (I know, you're absolutely bursting to find out what those inappropriate remarks are, aren't you?)

Thanks so much!

********************************************************************

I want to thank Steph for the great interview. And best of luck to your book!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

New Interview

I am hoping to post an Interview with Steph Bowe sometime next week. Look forward to many more interviews that I have with authors and bloggers!

I have been reading a LOT lately and I have read Books 1 and 2 in the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead! The series is amazing. Even though it has the typical vampires that we seem to see more and more of these days, this series is diffidently worth reading. This series will also make you want to read more and more about the characters and what happens. I will elaborate more on the reviews coming soon.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: Swan Town by Michael J. Ortiz

A girl like me, more nimble of mind than finger, what am I to do?
Hide my wit in a half-penny purse, and smile all say long?


Boils and plagues! Thirteen-year-old Susanna Shakespeare longs for something exciting to happen in her quiet, dusty village of Stratford, England. Her father, Will, is off in London, working on new plays. Susanna yearsn to be a part of that world, but girls aren't allowed to preform in the theater, or even attend school. Narrow-minded knaves! Susanna refuses to turn into a good-for-nothing lackwit an begins keeping a journal, hoping something will deliver her from her dull life.

When her uncle gets into trouble with the Master of Revels, Susanna is whisked off to London to help. Suddenly her stage is set for adventure...and romance.

Swan Town offers an unconventional glimpse into the life of the famed Bard's family in Elizabethan England, as seen through the eyes of Shakespeare's spirited daughter.

This is a very good book. The way the story starts off and finishes is juts perfect. Though I think the book flew by a bit I can see what that mus have been necessary. Susanna's voice was true and strong and she indeed sounded like Shakespeare's daughter. Reading this book, I got a look into what England was like in those days. We learn not only about Susanna but about others as well.

I think a lot of you will enjoy this book because Susanna is not that different from the rest of us teenagers. We all want something exciting to happen and we all want romance. So this is a very good book to read if you want to know more about Shakespeare and his family and the Elizabethan Era. Of course, if you just want to read this book for the fun of it, go ahead.




Review: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Krono's army is strong than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan's power only grows.

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it's up to Percy Jackson and and army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time. The long awaited prophecy surrounding Percy's sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for the Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspecion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

This series comes down with a thundering epic conclusion with book five. Rick Riordan has done it yet again. This book has everything, like all the others before it but there was a special ring to this book as the conclusion. The action and the violence is absolutely amazing. The friendships and relationships are also worth wile. As is the ethical dilemmas and the cope and of course, the Greek mythology.

Percy himself has become his own true hero. He's in command of his powers and knows (for the most part) what he's doing. He's caring and concerned for the well being of others and yes, even his enemies (sometimes). Plus, he's willing to let other's be heroes as well. Even at his own expense.

The exciting action, with the big, huge, gigantic battles ravaging in the US and NYC, and amidst it all is Percy's growth--both personally and as a hero--that makes this book so great. Also the growth of the other character and even the gods bring in a lot of perspective.

The ending is perfect as is the beginning and middle. The ending chapter is a great one and will diffidently make the fans want more out of the demi-gods.

All in all this book is simply great and I think everyone should read it!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Review: City of Glass: The Mortal Instruments: Book Three


Title: City of Glass The Mortal Instrument: Book Three
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date:
March 24, 2009

Summary: To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and her best friend, Simon, has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight. As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in the mysterious Shadowhinter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhinters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?
Review:
Finally finished with City of Glass. It felt good to finish off the series and I am very happy with where Ms. Clare left the story…but we all want to know what happens next, don’t we?
Anyways, this was just as terrific as the other two books in the Trilogy. The plot was a very good one and I liked how (like with her other two book) she wrote the story from the different characters and their perspective.
I’m very happy about the ending…though I do wonder very much what happens to Simon. It was no surprise about Clary and Jace. I was happy for Luke. Many surprises are in store for all of you who have not yet read this book.
Ms. Clare has ended her breathtaking Trilogy just wonderfully!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen



Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything"—at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf ’s Department Store.This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling.With Owen’s help,maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

I read this book for the first time in the 7th grade. Since then I have read this book more than 5 times. Every time I have read this book, I always have the same effect with it. This book is simply amazing and fabulous. The plot and character and dialogue of this book are just plain wonderful.
Annabel’s voice is carried out just so wonderfully, we can fell her pain and sadness and love. Annabel character takes us on an unforgettable ride. In this book, Annabel faces two issues that are so common these days: rape and anorexia. These things can happen to anyone and that is one of Dessen’s main points of this book. I think she is also trying to show how a girl who was raped tries to figure out what to do and how to tell someone about her story. To me, I thought Dessen was trying to tell us that we can get help is we find ourselves in a situation as these. That we’re not alone and that there are people who will do the biggest thing to help us : listen to our story.
When I read this book for the first time I couldn’t put it down! I just had to read on and see what happened to Annabel and her sisters and to see how things turned out (we can all predict that things turn out okay). After that I re-read the book, and loved it all over again!
Dessen is a very popular YA author and I highly recommend her books to everyone. She is very captivating and her books will keep you close to heart and will leave an impact on you, a good one! Though there are people who think her writing is sappy or stupid or worthless, I think otherwise. And I know there are many others who will agree with me when I say that Dessen is a wonderful author. She writes about important subjects that other authors’ do not write about: Teen Pregnancy; Obesity; Abusive Boyfriends; Teen Rape; Not Fitting in; and Acceptance, plus so many more topics. These topics are very common these days and should be addressed and Dessen does a wonderful job with that!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen


Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return. That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future-it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Well I've finally read Lock and Key. I actually read Along for the Ride before I read this one.


I thought this novel was just as brilliant and genuine as Mrs. Sarah Dessen herself. I have to say, after her other 7 excellent novels, I did have a high expectation.Lock and Key met this expectation plus 100% more.
Ruby is probably one of her most real characters and one of the characters to which we can all relate to her.Ruby has beauty and is smart in her own wonderful way. Her thinking, too, is all hers and perfects all on its own. Ruby, Cora and Jamie were some characters that I just wanted to know more and more about throughout the book.I know I did. Nate was such an original character, but I didn't like him as much as I liked her other male characters like Wes or Owen. It was nice though, having something so original in her book, which made this more different then her others. Nate also had the problem (which I won't give away) that Ruby used to have but didn't anymore so she was the one trying to help someone else, in this case, Nate, then someone trying to help her, which I remember, Mrs. Dessen has a lot of that in her other works. This was just another wonderful, original book by Mrs. Dessen.

I loved this book.Lock and Key is close behind to my other favortie of hers, to name one Just Listen. Everyone should read Mrs. Sarah Dessen's book, they are to put it it one word: Amazing. Kudos to you Mrs. Dessne!

Review: The Princess and the Pauper by Kate Brian


Title: The Princess and the Pauper
Author: Kate Brian
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 22, 2008


Summary:Carina, a real European princess, is dying to hook up with the sexy America rock star she met online. Too bad about all those bodyguards watching her every move. Then Carina spots her down-and-out near-twin, Julia. For a fast ten grand, Julia grabs the gown and the crown, and the girls swap identities for a day. Before long Princess Carina is trapped on a skeevy bus full of roadies, and pauper Julia is jetting off to…some small foreign country…
Only a storybook ending can get these two poseurs back where they belong.Review:
I’ve read Kate Brian before and I’ve heard of The Prince and the Pauper but this story was a tale all of its own.
Even though it was a lot like The Prince and the Pauper, it was a good story and a nice twist of changing the gender and of course the time period. The plot was very fast and to me it seemed a bit too fast. I mean I wanted a little more to the story but as the two girls were only changing their identities for one day, it was perfect.
The characters were quite believable but I just didn’t get how Julia could go to such a good school and live in shambles. But then again, this is a book and anything can happen.
I was a little disappointed with Carina. I thought it was a good idea about the concert and the aftermath, but a little more detail or maybe extending those parts would have been a good idea.
I recommend this book to those who want a little change (and twist) from the original story.

Review: City of Ashes: The Mortal Instruments: Book Two by Cassandra Clare


Title: City of Ashes The Mortal Instruments :Book Two
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderry
Publication Date: March 24, 2009

Summary: Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend.But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to her mother is to track down rouge Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil -- and also her father.To complicate matters, someone in new York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings—and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine is Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
Review:
The second book in the Mortal Instruments Trilogy is finished. And it was just as amazing as the first book.
The cover and title are just as mystifying as the summery is. And I think all of that put together can pull anyone into reading this book. But of course you have to read the first book to understand what happens in book.
The plot was wonderful and the pace of the book was good too. The chapters kept me entwined in the book and in that world and it was a joy ride. For the plot, as always, I loved the surprises and twists and turns that Ms. Clare presented. I think one thing that changes the book were the new characters and the new information we were given. The new stream of events kept the plot moving fast but the speed fit the dialogue and story.
I liked that fact that Clary has mastered the new information she has learned about herself (trying not to spoil the book) and how she uses it. The changes in Simon were quiet unexpected but in a very good way. I’m personally glad Simon came back into the story and Ms. Clare just didn’t throw him out completely.
This book was wonderful and I recommend this book to everyone!

Review: City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments: Book One by Cassanddra Clare


Title: City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments: Book One
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderry
Publication Date: February 19,2008

Summary: 
Their hidden world is about to be revealed....When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.
But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....
Review:
My friend actually was the one who recommended this book to me and am I ever glad she did. This book is simply amazing! I loved it from the beginning to the end. At the end I had to get the second book and read it as well.
This book caught my attention from the beginning of the story, even from the first chapter. And all the chapters were page turners. The amount of suspense in the book was also a big reason I kept on reading it.
The plot was just amazing, as was just about everything else in this book. The numbers of surprises in the book also helped the plot move forward and continue with the story. The plot was a little fast paced, I’ll admit, but I think it went well with the story. The characters were good but a little edgy in the beginning but it was all fixed up.
All in all I think Cassandra Clare did an amazing job of bringing readers into the world of the Shadowhunters and the Mortal Instruments. Kudos Ms. Clare.
I defiantly recommend this book to everyone!

Review: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter



Title: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls Book : Two)
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication Date: December 23, 2009


Summary: After staking out, obtaining, and then being forced to give up her first boyfriend, Josh, all Cammie Morgan wants is a peaceful semester. But that’s easier said than done when you’re a CIA legacy and go to the premier school in the world…for spies. Cammie may have a genius I.Q., but there are still a lot of things she doesn’t know. Like, will her ex-boyfriend even remember she exists? And how much trouble is she really in after what happened last semester? And most of all, why is her mother acting so strangely?Despite Cammie’s best intensions to be a normal student, danger seems to follow her. She and her friends learn that their school is going to play host to some mysterious guests—code name : Blackthorne. Then she’s blamed for a security breach that leaves the school’s top secret status at risk. Soon, Cammie and her friends are crawling through walls and surveilling the school to learn the truth about Balckthorne and clear Cammie’s name. Even though they have confidence in their spy skills, this time the targets are tougher (and Hotter), and the stakes for Cammie’s heart—and her beloved school—are higher than ever.

Review:
I read the first book in the series and I loved it. I was very excited to read this book and I just couldn’t wait. So when I started this book, I had expectations. But now that I’ve read the book…I’m a little disappointed.
This book was not what I had expected it to be. I read and re-read the summary and I even read an excerpt...but it just wasn’t the same. It just wasn’t what I had imagined the next book in the series to be like. It just fell short on my expectations. I mean, the title and the cover are just as interesting as the first book but somehow it just wasn’t the same.
It started out just great. The speed of the novel was great but then it began to get a little too fast. I mean one second I’m in D.C., then next I’m back at the Academy and all of a sudden the girls are snooping around the place. But then it got better. I personally thought that “Blackthorne” was an interesting twist. I also loved the other male characters of the story such as Zach.
This book was very original, even compared to the first book. And I think Ally did a very good job with it. Now I can’t wait for the third book in the series. I recommend this book to everyone who liked the first one. And if you haven’t read the first book, I suggest you read it!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: April 2, 2009



Summary: Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love— music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind? Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

Review:
If I Stay is the first book I've read by Gayle Forman and it was just outstanding! This was one book I didn't want to put down until I knew what happened to Mia.

Its beautifully written and we can really connect with Mia, the main character in this story. Ms. Forman did a very good job in brining Mia and her life alive in this book.

The pace for the book is good and every turn of the page makes us want to read more.

I still can't believe how well Ms. Forman was able to bring the past and present together in such a way. She did a good job describing Mia's feeling of how she met and fell in love with Adam and how she had problems with her family but was able to figure them out.

Then came to part that made me cry: when Mia realizes she and her family have been in a car accident and now she must fight for her life.

Choices, is the theme of this novel, and the choices Mia has to make are some choices I hope I never have to make. She can choose either to go with her family or stay on earth without her mom, dad, and brother Teddy. And when Mia realizes that she still has a family, a family hoping she'll wake up soon and get better, she makes her choice.

Personally, I think Ms. Forman ended the book at the right place. Throughout the book, Mia's "Ghost" goes around the hospital watching her family and friends, and seeing how many people actually loved her and what she meant to them. I just about broke down when Mia says I head Adam for the first time today. It symbolized that Mia had indeed made her choice and was not a "ghost" but actually Mia, in her own body, alive.

If I Stay, is an amazing novel and everyone should read it!
 
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